Already in 2018, there have been multiple high profile stories in the news of influential people who have fallen off or been knocked down from the pedestals of power and prestige. From sports and Hollywood to business and politics, and even to education and religion. Here are the most common ways we can self-destruct and not even know it.
Our success can build up a residue of arrogance, but not in a way that we can see it in ourselves. After all, because we are so successful, we know we are not arrogant – we are just right!
The more successful we become and the more that goes right for us, the more we believe that we are untouchable. This is often affirmed by those around us who lead us to believe we are irreplaceable.
We are the reason for all of the success around us, so why are we not entitled to more money, special treatment, and favors? And as we grow in our success, we often associate with other “successful” people and see what they have, further breeding the belief that we too are entitled to the same.
When the people around us are getting some form of benefit from us, they can fail to tell us anything that may cause those benefits to go away – even if they have concerns. We give them what they want from us, and they tell us what we want and need to hear.
Those of us at the top of an organization create the culture within it. The more we become arrogant, invincible and entitled, the more we will embed these dysfunctions in our teams and overall organizational culture. In other words – we contaminate the worksite!
It’s fascinating how delusional and hardened we can become as leaders, even when confronted with evidence of our failures and flaws. A spirit of arrogance and people telling us we are “fantastic” can build up a high and thick wall of denial regarding our human weaknesses.
As leaders, we would all do well to have at least a few truth-tellers in our lives – people who will not back down or shy away from serving as a mirror for us. And, it may also be beneficial to tape this proverb on our computer screen and read it multiple times each day:
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." -Proverbs 11:2
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of ministry assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include a B.S. in Bible, a M.Ed in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.